NURSING PROFESSOR CLAIRE MALLETTE believes in letting students see for themselves how powerful they can be.
Her fourth-year leadership course is all about inspiring them to identify a health issue and create a strategy for positive change that emphasizes compassion in health care. In its first year, when she linked the assignment to Ontario’s Change Day initiative, a grassroots movement to empower people within the health system to improve compassionate quality care, the challenge resulted in student projects from using Google Translate to communicate with patients to a Facebook page to raise awareness about youth homelessness.
Recent projects included an Instagram and Facebook campaign called “Let’s talk loneliness” that not only helps educate people about the topic but urges visitors to take simple actions from smiling at a stranger to visiting an elderly friend. Another group studied the importance
of physical activity for mild anxiety and depression and created a Facebook page encouraging visitors from around the world to post pictures of themselves running or walking. “What’s key about all of these is that they were applying theories they learned and using social media to make a difference directly,” says Mallette.
What’s key about all of these is that they were applying theories they learned and using social media to make a difference directly.
By the end of the project, students love it, and their response plus the creativity of their output inspires Mallette. “I was astounded at the quality,” says Mallette. “They just ran with their imaginations and did things better than I could have ever imagined.”